Friday, 30 March 2012

Mediaeval Spectacle

All Saints' Church North Street is renown for the quality of its stained glass windows including some stunning 14th century and 15th century panels. This tiny example can be found in the 15th century window known as the Nine Orders of Angels.
The window consists of 9 panels in total each panel depicting a different angelic form, Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangels etc. This panel depicts 'ordinary' Angels but what makes it especially interesting is that it also shows, in the centre of the group between the two red-robed figures, one of the 15th century figures wearing spectacles. One of the earliest instances of these being worn and depicted in glass.


  1. I would never have guessed that this was so old.

  2. I'm with RedPat, it looks positively modern.

    1. Interesting comments above and you are both right about it looking modern. For the last couple of centuries this window was the typical jumble of coloured glass assocoiated with very old windows that have been repaired many times, often with no real clue as to the intended subject. Then in 1965 a drawing of the window made in 1670 was discovered in the Bodleian Library in Oxford showing the window as it originally looked. An extensive re-arrangement of the mediaeval glass of the whole window was done and the result gives us a remarkable glimpse into the past freshly minted.

  3. Isn't the Bodleian fantastic? I had a glimpse inside of it once, years ago. I'd love to have a chance to explore it. But it's not a place for tourists, which is probably one reason why it's so fantastic.

  4. I have been out photographing windows in several churches this week, nearly all of them are Victorian or later. Not much medieval glass in the churches around here. York has according to my book quite a lot of pretty old glass. I like this window though I would have guessed modern window with old segments stuck in it.


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